Owners/operators and pitmasters from some of the leading barbecue restaurants throughout Texas participated in the third Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting, which was held at the Kleberg Animal and Food Science Center and the Rosenthal Meat Center on Monday, December 12, 2016. About 45 people were in attendance, and participants received updates on livestock and meat markets for beef, pork, chicken, and turkey by David Anderson, professor and extension economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, food safety overview for restaurants by Kerri Gehring, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science, beef carcass grading by Davey Griffin, professor and extension meat specialist and Ray Riley, manager, Rosenthal Meat Center, and beef carcass utilization and cut-out values by Griffin and Jeff Savell, distinguished professor and E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chairholder in the Department of Animal Science.
The meeting was sponsored by the E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, and Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell served as hosts with assistance from student workers, Madalynn Kainer, Kenna Turner, and Jordan Hevner. Graduate students Clay Eastwood and Courtney Boykin helped with the beef carcass and cut-out value demonstrations.
Dr. Anderson gave an update on current market trends for livestock and meat. For the most part, meat production is increasing and with that, some prices may be softened during the upcoming year. While this is not necessarily good news for livestock and poultry producers, this could be good news for those in the restaurant business.
Dr. Gehring talked about issues related to food safety and the foodservice industry. Foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, and Staphylococcus aureus. Gehring mentioned that most foodborne illnesses could be traced to undercooking, cross contamination, and improper storage and handling after cooking. She also noted that many recalls with meat and poultry processors have been attributed to undeclared allergens and that restaurant businesses need to be careful about how allergens are used in their facilities.
Evan LeRoy from Austin provided the lunch, which included smoked beef chuck roll, pork brisket, and a sweet potato dish. We thank Evan for serving such great food to the participants.
After lunch, the group moved to the Rosenthal Meat Center for a beef carcass grading demonstration led by Davey Griffin and Ray Riley. Participants were suited up with frocks, hard hats, hairnets, and, where appropriate, beard nets to spend time in the refrigerated cooler learning about beef carcass quality and yield grading.
After the carcass evaluation segment, the participants moved to the Rosenthal Meat Center classroom to learn more about beef carcass cut-out utilization and value. Davey Griffin demonstrated the breakdown of a beef chuck roll to show some of the muscles that could be used for barbecue and other cooking applications.
The next Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting will be held next December, and we look forward to our continued work with the people in the business of making the best barbecue around.
Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting in the news